Exclusives, Gold Dome, Joshua Sharf, Uncategorized

Sharf: The case for censuring State Rep. Elisabeth Epps

Complete Colorado recently published an open letter calling for the Colorado House of Representatives to formally censure Rep. Elisabeth Epps (D-Denver) for her anti-Semitic tantrums on the House floor and from the gallery during the recent special session.

As Democrats currently hold a 46-19 majority in the chamber, the responsibility for censuring Epps will fall substantially on them.  They would be wise to do so, and negligent not to.

Epps’s behavior included falsely accusing Israel of genocide multiple times, using profanity both on the floor of the House and from the gallery, and interrupting Rep. Ron Weinberg, who is Jewish, repeatedly while he spoke from the House floor, with both Republicans and Democrats standing with him.

Her remarks came as she monopolized debate time on a proposed amendment that would have barred Coloradans from using food stamps to pay for products from the West Bank (Gaza exports nothing but terror and violence), thus serving the important dual purpose of helping to deny gainful employment to Palestinian workers.

After her peroration, she retired to the gallery to heckle and insult Rep. Weinberg, argue with the Speaker Pro Tempore, and generally disrupt the business of the House as might a spoiled child being denied dessert for the first time in her life.

She later claimed on social media that rules of decorum were being weaponized against her as a black woman, which might have had some merit had she actually followed them, or had Rep. Weinberg failed to.  As it stands, it’s worth noting the danger in having a member of the Judiciary Committee – of all committees – who thinks that rules don’t apply to her.

The censure letter was written and circulated by Colorado businessman Rob Schwartz.  Schwartz previously served both as an alderman in New Haven, Connecticut and as the chief of staff for then-State Senator Joseph Lieberman.  “I’m now unaffiliated.  I left the Democratic Party when the party left Joe Lieberman,” said Schwartz, referring to Connecticut Democrats’ refusal to renominate Lieberman to the Senate after his support for the Iraq War.  Lieberman won re-election as an Independent.

Schwartz is careful to point out that the letter is not a partisan, or ideological, or even exclusively Jewish effort.  Signatories are both Jewish and Christian, and come from all across the political spectrum, from very liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans.

He was also one of a group of citizens who, during the 2022 primaries, publicized earlier anti-Semitic tweets by Epps, including one using the phrase, “From the River to the Sea,” a call for Israel’s destruction and therefore the expulsion or death of all Jews currently living in Israel.  Epps issued a half-hearted apology and locked down her personal Twitter account as a result, but it’s clear that that was window-dressing designed to get her through to the general election in the heavily Democratic district.

“The governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state are all Jewish and are all Democrats, and not one of them chose to do anything during the primary when these were made public,” Schwartz noted.  Epps won her primary race by roughly 1,000 votes against an opponent nearly as progressive as she is, but who was untainted by bigotry.

In fact, the Democrats could easily afford to take this step or worse: the district is safely Democratic.  Even if it weren’t, a 46-19 majority wouldn’t even be dented by the loss of a single seat. Epps has already attracted at least one primary challenger, Tyler Berthelot-Meres, an Air Force veteran currently working for United Airlines.  Like Epps, he appears to be comfortably to the left on social issues.  Unlike Epps, he doesn’t appear to be certifiably insane.

The only reason for not doing this is a fear that such a move might split the party.  The Democratic Socialists of America can claim at least 8 seats in the state legislature, and probably at least that many fellow travelers.  But if conventional liberals don’t want their party to be swallowed alive by leftists, the time to act is now.

We should be under no illusions about what Epps will do with censure: she will race-bait and fundraise.  But she will do so from a position of defeat rather than from success.  Her primary opponent will be able to credibly claim that she is damaging the district with her antics and tantrums rather than representing it effectively.

Epps’s behavior simply cannot be tolerated in civil society.  Debates can be pointed and even rancorous, but the wholesale demonization of political opponents and the outright marketing of anti-Semitism makes it impossible to participate in civic discussion.  At a time when we are reminded every day that we are in a civilizational war against barbarism, Epps has placed herself on the side of the barbarians.

Censuring Epps is the right thing to do.

Joshua Sharf is a Denver resident and frequent contributor to Complete Colorado.


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